The Future of the Industry

Brandon Patterson named finalist in NAHB Young Professional Awards.

In January the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) held its International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando, presenting the 2nd Annual Young Professional Awards at the same time. Des Moines’ own Brandon Patterson, Realtor with Re/MAX Real Estate Concepts in West Des Moines, was one of 20 finalists nationwide.

“Brandon epitomizes the ideal individual that any association would love to have,” says Dan Knoup, Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines, who nominated Patterson. “He’s smart, energetic, dedicated, resourceful, and not afraid to dream big or roll up his sleeves.”

When asked about that energy, Patterson laughs. “If you let me be free, I will do crazy things.”

That’s a trait that seems to fit the NAHB award criteria, which state, “The winners of this award represent the future of the industry. They are valuable assets in their communities and are moving the home building industry forward.”

Patterson may be employed as a Realtor, but he views construction, remodeling, and real estate all as part of his field. “Personally, I see real estate involvement as more broad than just selling houses. As a Realtor, it’s my job to understand everything that my clients are looking for, whether the buyer is a millennial looking for a first home or someone 55 and up with completely different needs looking for a custom home.”

Patterson attributes part of that business approach to his upbringing. Raised in a family involved in the trades, he grew up on jobsites, watching his uncles and father “down in the hole,” he says. “My family still runs the only plumbing business in Tama-Toledo, where I grew up. My grandmother, who’s 90, still opens the shop every day.”

That environment taught Patterson that the construction trades are more than just jobs; they are skilled trades in which the best professionals take great pride.

Another big factor in Patterson’s eclectic professional approach was his first employer as a real estate agent. “When I started with Peoples Company several years ago, Steve Bruere told me, ‘Get involved with something.’ He wanted us all active in the community. So I got involved in the HBA and worked on the Home and Remodeling Show that first year.”

The next year, in true Brandon fashion, he jumped in with both feet and ran the Home and Remodeling Show himself. That’s when Knoup and Patterson first met.

“So many organizations have demonized millennials and written them off as lazy, self-centered, and nonjoining,” Knoup says. “Brandon is the exact opposite of all of these. He’s run shows for the HBA of Greater Des Moines and has volunteered more hours over the past few years than any other member of our Association.”

In addition to his role as a member of the HBA of Greater Des Moines’ Executive Committee, Patterson still serves on the Home and Remodeling Show committee, the Waukee Chamber of Commerce, the Engagement committee for the HBA of Iowa, and is a founding member of the new Realtors Young Professionals committee.

Patterson explains, “I’m a parent, I do this Skilled Trades stuff, and I do real estate. I’m working all the time, and my brain never stops. I’m a creative, big-picture kind of person—all this extra stuff is how I give back.”

The role that gets him most animated professionally is the one he performs for the Iowa Skilled Trades organization. In addition to last year’s dinner event featuring Mike Rowe, the organization helped Des Moines’ Central Campus with a summer day camp last July to introduce students to some of the construction trades. Plans are already in the works to host another one this summer, as well as “Dozer Days,” which will teach students about the equipment side of the construction trades.

Patterson says, “We have a lot of ideas in the works. Some of us are going to Missouri in March to attend Build My Future, where students from all over the state get to do hands-on masonry, electric, and plumbing. Our goal is to create something like that here. We have to start reaching out and catching the interest of middle schoolers if we’re going to turn around the skilled trades situation.”

Excitement and publicity from the Mike Rowe event has brought in more donors, which opens up more possibilities for the Skilled Trades group. But one thing Patterson says is still needed is volunteers.

“I’ve put in at least 1,000 hours on this, and others have probably put in just as much. If we had 20 people putting in a quarter of that, we could get so much more done. My vision is to continue developing these fund-raising events on a regular basis so we can have a dedicated staff member or two.”

One immediate administrative need is to get the group’s website updated. The site currently provides information about past events, links for donating, and links for purchasing promotional items, but Patterson envisions the site becoming a one-stop shop for students, educators, and parents, offering even more details about scholarships, links to applications, and links to schools and apprenticeships.

“The Skilled Trades event with Mike Rowe had a lot to do with why I was nominated for the NAHB award,” Patterson says. “But that was just the beginning. I have a thousand ideas for where we go from here.”

Patterson was excited to attend the IBS show and awards presentation in Orlando, but he said one of the highlights of that trip was the buzz about the Mike Rowe event.

“I made a lot of contacts while we were there. People were really talking about that event, and that was fantastic,” he says. “That’s all I care about. The nomination was great, but if we can get more people involved in the Skilled Trades activities, that’s all I could ask.”

NAHB Young Professional Award

Recognizing America’s young building industry professionals, the NAHB Young Professional Award honors individuals under the age of 45 who “propel their careers forward, advance in all three levels of the NAHB Federation, advocate for the home building industry, engage with their peers, and establish themselves as exceptional members of their communities.”

From the initial applications, 20 finalists were selected, representing the five NAHB regions across the U.S. Only three of those finalists were real estate professionals, including Des Moines’ Brandon Patterson.

Nominees were judged by a panel of five, based on these categories: innovation, career progress, industry involvement, and leadership development.

Get Involved!

  • Support scholarships and future events by Donating
  • Learn more about Iowa Skilled Trades and the organization’s upcoming events, become a sponsor, volunteer to be a part of future activities, donate to support scholarships and events, and get your own Iowa Skilled Trades hat or t-shirt—visit
  • Check out the group’s Facebook for highlights from September’s event.
  • To find out more about Central Campus and the Skilled Trades Academy.
  • Use the hashtag: #iowaskilledtrades